Crete Senesi
 
                       
 


 

Southern Tuscany is an undiscovered jewel. The territory known as the Crete Senesi contains all of those things which we have come to associate with Tuscany: a landscape of gently undulating hills, lined with cypress trees and covered by a patchwork of fields, olive groves and vineyards.
Just south of Siena is the intriguing and distinctive semi-desert landscape of the Crete, which break up the enchanting green landscape of this part of Tuscany. The Crete are geographical features of clay, harsh and wild, difficult to cultivate by anyone who is not an expert and who doesn't respect the laws of nature.

This area was made famous by the Battle of Montaperti between the Florentines and the Sienese in 1260, which took place here. It is also well-worth making a visit to the atmospheric complex of the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, which was founded in 1313 by Giovanni Tolomei; surrounded by centuries-old cypresses, it dominates the landscape of the Crete. Besides the many works of art there, the abbey also has a library of forty thousand antique books, testimony to the cultural and artistic importance of the abbey between the 15th and the 16th century.


 
     
Montalcino, surroundings


     
  Montalcino is a charming walled town set above set in a panoramic position above olive groves and vineyards which produce the excellent Brunello wine.

Perhaps because of its geographic position, far away from the crowded main roads and lacking big industrial poles, here a virtually untouched and to a large extent wild landscape endures. The territory of Montalcino, symbol of this magical rapport between man and nature, was declared in 2004, with the four municipalities of Castiglion d’Orcia, Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia, Radicofani, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Only the northeastern end of the territory of Montalcino was affected by the passage of the Via Francigena, corresponding more or less to a stretch of the Via Cassia prior to its recent rectification.
Still within the boundaries of the Commune of Buonconvento, in the direction of Montalcino, one can take a detour on the right. After approximately one kilometer, there is an unpaved road on the left which leads to the Altesi Castle, once belonging to the Tricerchi family, as proven by some stone coats of arms;. One of them is dated 1441. At the center of the Altesino estate rises the 14th-century Palazzo Altesi, a visual testament to the estate's prominence. lt is a monu­mental, square-planned, brick fortalice with two courtyards, corner towers, high scarp base in stone and double lancet windows with pointed arches on three sides.

Returning to the intersection we take the dirt road for Badia Ardenga. In the Middle Ages it was seat of an important Benedictine abbey which was passed to the Vallombrosian Order in the 13 th century The present-day church, with late-Rornanesque features and a single nave, is the result of extensive remodeling that resulted in the tearing down of the apses and side aisles. The surviving structures of a more ancient crypt dating back to the 11th century are preserved underneath, partly accessible from the interior of the church and partly from the exte­rior. Considering its framework with seven small naves sheltered by roman vaults, it must have originally been the largest crypt in southern Tuscany second only to the one in the Abbadia di San Salvatore at Amiata. Although quite altered, the old monastic rooms are also very suggestive and set in lovely surroundings.

At this point we can reach Montalcino directly by a long, unpaved road that connects to the one coming from Buonconvento, or by taking the Cassia again where we left it and continuing towards Torrenieri. This was once an important castle, center of a hospital and stopping place on the Via Francigena mentioned in the Archbishop of Canterbury's itinerary. There are still fortified structures in brick with corner towers and scarp bases located on the outskirts of this modern town. The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena houses a wooden statue painted at the beginning of the 15th century.

From Torrenieri a beautiful panoramic hill overlooking the Orcia, Asso, and Ombrone valleys, where grain-cultivating fields gradually fade into vineyards and olive groves, a road leads to Montalcino.[1]

Trekking in Toscana | Da Buonconvento a Montalcino | Montalcino - Abbazia di Sant’Antimo | Da Montalcino a San Quirico d'Orcia (Italian)




 

Buonconvento

Badia Ardenga

 


Montalcino  

Numerous monuments are evidence of the important role that Montalcino glayed in the Middle Ages.[2] The 14th century Fortress, with pentagonal enclosure in stone, has high scarp walls provided with loopholes, merlons and corbels, corner towers and a typically Sienese entrance doorway. Inside, the remains of the Romanesque Church of Sant'Egidio are found, as well as a large donjon with access to the patrolling bay, which is entirely practicable.
The focal point of Piazza del Popolo is the Palazzo Communale (Town Hall), with portico on the ground floor and slender stone tower with brick belfry. On the opposite side there is a 14th-15 th century loggia with semicircular arches in brick and Sienese arches in stone. Two churches with consider­able Gothic characteristics are the Augustinian church dedicated to Saints Philip and James, commonly called the Church of Sant'Agostino, and the Church of Sant'Egidio, which is said to have been carried out by the Sienese in substitution of the one that was demolished in order to erect the Fortress. The first church has a large nave with wooden roof trusses, a quadrangular apse and frescoes dat­ing back to the 14th century partially attributed to Bartolo di Fredi. The second church has a nave sheltered by wooden trusses on transverse ribs, with building materials originating from a previous Romanesque church. The other churches were founded, or their architectural features extensively renovated during the Modern Age, proof of considerable building activity even after the Middle Ages: San Francesco, San Lorenzo in San Pietro, Corpus Domini, Sant'Antonio Abate, Santa Maria delle Grazie, La Madonna del Soccorso, Santa Maria dell'Osservanza (on the road for Torrenieri), and so on. The Duomo was also entirely rebuilt during the 19 th century, though it still houses some sculptural remains originating from the San Salvatore Parish Church, founded at the end of the 10 th cen­tury in place of an ancient baptismal church.

The artistic heritage preserved in the Civic and Diocesan Museum of Religious Art, located in the former convent of the Augustinians, is truly exceptional. Among the works that were created during the Middle Ages there are an illuminated Bible, a wooden Cruciiix from the second half of the 12th century, a Madonna and Child from the second half of the 13 th century and numerous panels and wooden sculptures from the 14th and 15 th centuries, including masterpieces by Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Bartolo di Fredi, Giovanni di Agostino, Giovanni di Paolo, Francesco di Segria, Luca di Tommè, Sano di Pietro, il Vecchietta, and Francesco di Valdambrino.[1].

Museo Civico e Diocesano d'Arte Sacra di Montalcino
Orario da gennaio a marzo: dalle ore 10 alle 13 e dalle 14 alle 16.
Orario da aprile a dicembre: dalle ore 10 alle ore 18. Chiuso il lunedi

Via Ricasoli, 31,
Montalcino



 

Porta Burelli di Montalcino

Montalcino, Piazza del Popolo



    Castelmuzio
 
Castelmuzio

 

 

               
  Castelmuzio is off the beaten path, the wonderfully preserved medieval hamlet is set in a luscious landscape , rich with gray-green olive groves, geometrical vineyards, and breathless punctuations of tall slender dark green cypress trees.
Castelmuzio dates back to the time of the Etruscans, and is built on a volcanic limestone hilltop. Over the years it has been called by several names, Castel Mozzo and later Castello. You can see the old city walls and ramparts, including the embrasures through which cannons were fired. The village includes three churches. The most famous is the Pieve di Santo Stefano in Cennano, just outside the village.

The beauty of Castelmuzio is savored best by meandering the secondary unpaved roads, the strade bianche, that wend their way through the hills.Nearby, Montisi, Petroio,Trequanda and San Giovanni d'Asso, offer museums

Trequanda stands on the top of a hill, deep in unspoilt countryside of woods, vineyards and olive groves. Trequanda is quite a small town, and the main attractions are located all around the center, the Piazza B. Cacciaconti. The Piazza is surrounded by many historical buildings and old monuments.
The church of Saint Peter and Andrew is one of the most important religious places in Trequanda. The church was first built in the 13th century and is an interesting place to visit. The façade of the church has an interesting stone façade that resembles a black and white check board. The interior of the church has been beautifully decorated with several frescoes made by various popular artists. Close to the altar is a beautiful triptych made by Giovanni di Paolo.

The nature train is an interesting celebration that is held in Trequanda every Sunday from May to October which passes from the various scenic locations in the province of Siena and offers a chance to visitors to explore and appreciate the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Sant' Anna in Camprena, is an ancient convent between Pienza and Castelmuzio. The monastery was chosen for filming some of the most famous scenes of The English Patient by Anthony Minghella. A long avenue of cypress trees leads to the monastery, all surrounded by an amazing natural landscape. The monastery contains remarkable frescoes by Sodoma.

Località Sant' Anna in Camprena, 53026, Pienza, Toscana

East of Trequanda you reach Sinalunga. Surrounded by vineyards, hills and countryside this is a typical Tuscany region town.
Attractions include the 16th century Collegiata di San Martino (Saint Martin Collegiate Church). The church was constructed in 1587 on the site where a castle once stood. Inside is a 16th century wooden cross as well as historical art works. Other ancient churches and other buildings include the the Chiesa di Santa Croce (Saint Cross Church), the Chiesa di Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy Church), the Pieve di San Pietro ad Mensulas (Saint Peter ad Mensulas Parish), the Chiesa di San Bernardino (Saint Bernardine Church), the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace), the Teatro Ciro Pinsuti(Ciro Pinsuti Theatre) and the Antiquarium.
Sinalunga has received the Italian Orange Flag award for sustainable tourism.

Trekking in Tuscany | Anello Sinalunga - Scrofiano | www.caivaldarnosuperiore.it


Strada bianca di Montauto da Lucignano d'Arbia ad Asciano

It starts from the Cassia a little before to reach the historic centre of Lucignano d’Arbia, coming from the south, linking the Val d’Arbia with the Ombrone valley and proceeding along the tops of the hills. The road climbs up among curves and slopes until Montauto, a small ancient medieval commune, now turned into a private villa, to then go down among calanques of great landscape-impact until the Valley of Ombrone, some kilometres from Asciano. The road, partly communal and partly local is however possible to be travelled over by car, by cycle and even on foot. Being well gravelled, toy can also go through it in not very dry periods. The panoramas offered by path are among the most beautiful of Crete Senesi.


 


Castelmuzio


Pieve of Santo Stefano in Cennano


Sant’Anna in Camprena,
frescoes by Sodoma

 

    Buonconvento, located in the middle of the famous “Crete Senesi”, is a village of great beauty and full of history. Buonconvento is a member of the prestigious association “I borghi più belli d’Italia” (www.borghitalia.it). Its name derives from the Latin “bonus conventus”, meaning “happy, fortunate community”.
The circuit of strong defense walls, the architectural style of which recalls that of Siena, once enclosed the entire village like a cocoon around a butterfly. It had no openings other than two gates with thick wooden doors with iron fittings: Porta Senese on the northern side, toward Siena, and Porta Romana on the south, destroyed in 1944 by the retreating Germans.
Inside the walls, the village is crossed from north to south by Via Soccini. In the Tinaia del Taja, the Museum of mezzadria helps visitors discover the traditional lifestyle of sharecroppers.

Opening hours:
From Thursday to Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm
Closed on Mondays, 1th May, 15th Aug, on Christmas and New Year's Day


The Museum Of Sacred Art of The Val D'arbia houses works collected from local Sienese churches including paintings by Matteo di Giovanni,Sano di Pietro, Taddeo di Bartolo, Sasseta and Lorenzetti. There are also a number of fascinating sculptures carved out of wood and marble dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

Address: Via Soccini 17 | www.museoartesacra.it
Opening hours:Tues. to Sat. 10-12 and 15-17, Sun. 10-12 (winter). Tues. to Sat. 10-12 and 16-19, Sun. 10-12 (summer) • closed on Monday.



Buenconvento | Walking Tour of Buonconvento

Via Lauretana Antica | A well marked path system taking you through the unpolluted countryside of the Sienese Crete

Walking in Tuscany | From Buonconvento to Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Walking in Tuscany | San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagni Vignoni, Castiglione d'Orcia, Rocca d'Orcia, Montalcino, La Foce
Trekking in Tuscany | Rocca d'Orcia



 

    Da Buonconvento a San Quirico per Montalcino

Da Buonconvento a Montalcino | Montalcino - Abbazia di Sant’Antimo | Da Montalcino a San Quirico d'Orcia


   
         
    The Via Francigena in the Siena Region


   
    Between Montalcino and Torrenieri


   
    Only the northeastern end of the territory of Montalcino was affected by the passage of the Via Francigena, corresponding more or less to a stretch of the Via Cassia prior to its recent rectification.
We start from Montalcino and we take the road that leads to the Via Cassia, after 1.7 km turn Buonconvento, and reach the farm Cottimello, arichtettonico old complex dating to the Middle Ages. Continue for 4 km to the Cantina Sociale and turn right a little further we find the ancient complex of Collodi. Continue until you come to the Altesino estate. Little further we come to the Castle Altesi. From here we return to the road and arrived at the junction turn right onto the Cassia towards South Shortly after we find the Villa of Rondinella characterized by an original Art Nouveau architecture, we continue to reach Torrenieri Cassia, where you can ammmirare the parish church of S. Mary Magdalene, we return to Montalcino along the road, past the junction for Buonconvento turn right to visit the Church of the Observance, and then go back and get again Montalcino.

The Art Nouveau in Buonconvento was anything but provincial, and evolved into a calm, elegant style, that played on materials, colors and decorative effects, on both exteriors and in the decoration of interiors dominated by floral patterns, well represented in the frescoes, stained glass and wrought iron work.
On the Cassia, Villa Rondinella stands on a small hill. Designed by Gino Chierici (1910), it is richly decorated and built with fine materials.A rich floral iconography is represented both in the frescoes and in the windows and wrought ironwork, showing careful research into the use of different materials.

Comune di Montalcino Itinerari | Montalcino-Podere Cottimello-Podere Collodi-Castello Altesi-Altesino-la Rondinella-Torrenieri-Chiesa dell'Osservanza-Montalcino (Italian)


 

Torrenieri
         
  From Castelmuzio to Pienza


   
  Solitary cypresses or lining in long rows ancient country roads, vineyeards which follow the ups and downs of rolling hills, streams overshadowed by trembling poplars, oaks and holm-oaks woods, strawberry trees and brooms growing on the banks of the roads, they make up the landscape which can be enjoyed on approaching Castelmuzio, the old, suggestive medieval village in the heart of Tuscany.

   
   

La Via Francigena | From Siena to Ponte d'Arbia - 28.5 km

Departure: Siena, Piazza del Campo
Arrival: Ponte D'Arbia, Centro Cresti
Length: 28.5 km
ype of travel: On foot, by mountain bike
Travel time on foot (h: min): 6.20

Getting to the starting point: Empoli-Siena-Grosseto and Siena-Chiusi railway lines, Siena or Monteroni d'Arbia station

Map | View Tappa 12 in a larger dimension


   
   
   
Montereggioni

    From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni - 29,8 km

 
   
Total length (km): 29.8
Travel time on foot (h: min): 7.30
Paved roads: 19%
Dirt roads and driveways: 70%
Mule tracks and trails: 12%

Getting to the starting point: FS Empoli-Siena Railway Line, Poggibonsi station; bus line 133 for S. Gimignano

View Tappa 10 in a larger dimension on Google Maps

   
    This 29.8 km leg begins in San Gimignano and takes in about 7 hours to complete. It is one of the most beautiful legs of the Via Francigena, and after the frst section of the path, you begin to walk up and down in the valley of the Foci river, near Molino d'Aiano.

A path leads upward to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria a Coneo. Then you cross the bridge on the hilltop to reach the Romanesque church of San Martino di Strove. Then you go to the Abbey of Island, before catching a sight of Monteriggioni, with its unmistakable ring of walls and towers that dominate the surrounding hills.

From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni - 29,5 km

Da San Gimignano a Monteriggioni - 29,5 km

 

Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta in Chianni
         
    From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano - 13,4 km

   
    A short stage, however an interesting one for the beauty of the landscape along the Via Francigena. Exiting from the centre of Gambassi Termi, one goes towards the Luiano farm, passing through terrain cultivated with vineyards. Once past the farm, we encounter the bridge of the Madonna, on the Torrente dei Casciani which marks the confine between the provinces of Florence and Siena and the entrance to the municipality of San Gimignano. From here the route goes uphill past cultivated fields and beautiful cypresses until reaching Pancole, the site of a Marian sanctuary and a place for refilling water. The route involves going through the underground passage of the large religious structure. Shortly after, one can already glimpse the multi-towered profile of San Gimignano. But before reaching the town we encounter the charming Romanesque parish church of S. Maria a Cellole, completed in 1238, as recorded in an inscription to the side of the portal. From the church, passing the houses of Sferracavalli, one can take a brief detour to visit an Etruscan necropolis with well-preserved hypogeous room tombs that date between the 4th and 1st century BC. There is no rest point along the route.From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano - 13,4 km

Da Gambassi Terme a San Gimignano
- 13,4 km

 
         
    From Monteriggioni to Siena - 20,5 km

   
    Departure: Monteriggioni, Piazza Roma
Arrival: Siena, Piazza del Campo

Getting to the starting point: FS Empoli-Siena Line, Castellina Scalo station

 

    This 20.5 km leg begins in Monteriggioni and takes in about 6 hours to complete. Leave Monteriggioni and walk along the road in the Sienese hills to the medieval village of Cerbaia. It runs through the woods up to the Castle of Chiocciola and the Castle of Villa, before descending down toward Pian del Lago.

Then cross the Renai woods before arriving at Porta Camollia, the traditional Via Francigena entrance to Siena. In the city, walk down Banchi di Sopra and then up to the end of this leg in Piazza del Campo, the Duomo and then the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.

From Monteriggioni to Siena - 20,5 km

Da Monteriggioni a Siena - 20,5 km


 
   

Monteriggioni circular walk | Trekking nella Montagnola senese tra Monteriggioni e Badia a Isola | Anello Monteriggioni | Monteriggioni - Badia a Isola - Castel Petraia - Monte Maggio (Italian)

Mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy, Monteriggioni was for a long time the object of a struggle between Florence and Siena, like many other towns in this corner of Tuscany. It was only in 1554 that Florence definitively conquered it.
As you approach Monteriggioni you feel like you are travelling back in time. The small town, whose distinctive feature is its elliptical city walls soared by 14 towers, is set atop a hillock. Only two access gates (Porta Romea and Porta San Giovanni) open into the walls, one opposite the other.

The town has also a “pieve” (a kind of church) and a small museum with a great masterpieces of Renaissance Florentine painting: the Maria Maddalena by Pollaiolo, realized in the second half of XV century, when he was admitted in the hospital of the town, after getting sick in San Gimignano.

 

 
    Val di Merse | The Hermitage of Montesiepi

   
   

The abandoned Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano with the Montesiepi hermitage rise in the valley of the river Merse, between the medieval villages of Chiusdino and Monticiano.
The site is made up of two major attractions: the Gothic roofless cathedral and the unusually shaped monastery of Montesiepi, and ancient hermitage, which hosts the tomb of San Galgano and the sword in the stone.
According to the tradition, in 1180 on Christmas Day San Galgano fixed his sword into the stone in order to realize a cross. Now in Montesiepi's Hermitage a plexiglass shrine with the sword into the stone is still preserved.
The Round or Montesiepi’s Hermitage was built right after the death of the saint, over the ancient hut where St. Galgano spent his last year of life. The church is based on a circular plan, only broken off by the little apse. The small chapel is posthumous if compared with the rest of the Round. It was built and badly connected to the Round only in 1340, by will of Vanni of the Salimbeni. The chapel interior is famous for its hemispheric vaulted ceiling in concentric two-tone rings created with brick and travertine and for the sword of San Galgano thrust into a rock.

There’s a very nice and reasonably level walk from San Galgano to Monticiano that takes about an hour. During the itinerary you can stop at the sculptures park by Roberto Ciulli in Monticiano.


Walking in Tuscany and the Val di Merse | From San Galgano to Monticiano

Walking in Tuscany| From Monticiano to Camerata and the Hermitage of Camerata

 

L'eremo di Montesiepi (the Hermitage of Montesiepi)


Walking in Tuscany| From San Galgano to Monticiano

         
   

 

Val di Merse | Sovicille | Itinerarys in the surrounding hills of Sovicille

   
   

Sovicille’s territory stretches from La Montagnola Senese to the valley of the river Merse.
The historic-artistic heritage of the territory is of extreme importance. It can boast a large presence of abbeys and Romanesque parish churches such as San Giusto a Balli, Pernina, Molli, Ponte allo Spino, Torri with the notable polychromatic cloister in the Santa Mustiola abbey, and San Lorenzo a Sovicille. Villas worth mentioning are the 17th century Cetinale designed by the architect Carlo Fontana; Celsa with its formal garden and the 18th century Villa Linari.

Most of the itineraries around Sovicille are covered by the “Carta Turistica” (Turistic Maps) and by the “Sentieri della Montagnola Senese 1:25000” (The Sienese Montagnola Paths) Club Alpino Italiano (CAI: Italian Alpine Club) Sezione di Siena (Multigraphic Edizioni, Firenze).

Anello Sovicille | Sovicille – San Giusto – Villa Cetinale – Il romitorio di Cetinale - Pieve di Pernina – Ancaiano – Villa Celsa - 16 km | Details (Italian)

Alternative itineraries

Walking in Tuscany | Itinerarys in the surrounding hills of Sovicille

Sovicille, Palazzavelli, Tombe etrusche del Luco, Malignano, Padule, Aeroporto, Ampugnano, La Sala, Pieve del Ponte allo Spino, Sovicille

Itinerary 15 Sovicille, Rosia, Montarrenti, Tonni, Tegoia, Molli, Incrociati, La Cetina, Celsa, Pernina, Romitorio, Cetinale, Piscialembita, Ponte allo Spino, Sovicille

Itinerary 1 | Cennina, Casa Luciano, Castello di Celsa, podere Bareto, La Cetina, podere Morra, podere Chiostro, podere Gabbreta, Pernina, Romitorio, Cerbaia, Campo di Pania, Cennina | 12 km | 3h 30'

Itinerary 2 | Cetinale, Tebaide, Romitorio, Pernina, Ancaiano, Cetinale | 9,5 km | 3h

Itinerary 3 | Simignano, Fonte a Radi, Palazzo al Piano, Poggioli, Molli, Simignano | 9,5 km | 3h 10'

Itinerary 4 | Campeggio, Palazzone, Piscialembita, Personata, Personatina, Poggiarello, San Giusto, Petriccio, La Costa, Sovicille, Palazzalbero, Campeggio | 9 km | 3 h

Itinerary 5 | Tegoia, Molli, Pescina a Molli, podere Colombaio, Cerbaia, Poggiarello, Casaotti Tegoia | 6 km | 2 h

Itinerary 6 | Borgo Pretale, Tonni, Cave del Baulino, Montarrenti, Eremo di Santa Lucia, Ponte della Pia, Le Reniere, Borgo Pretale | 9,5 km | 3h

Itinerary 7 | Borgo Pretale, Le Reniere, Poggio Crocino, Poggio della Pigna, Poggiarello, Cerbaia, Borgo Pretale | 9,8 km | 3h

Itinerary 8 |Rosia, Ponte della Pia, Eremo di Santa Lucia, Castello di Spannocchia, Monte Acuto, Torri, Rosia | 10,5 km | 3h 30'

Itinerary 9 | Brenna, Cimitero, Campalfi, La Steccaia, Torrente Ricausa, Mulino, Castiglion che Dio sol sa, Le Sugherelle, Lago di Stigliano, Montestigliano, Brenna | 12 km | 4h

Itinerary 10 | Toiano, Palazzaccio, Valli, Caldana, Valacchio, La Casella, Campora, Cennina, Pastine, Toiano | 11 km | 3h 30'

Itinerary 11 | Linari, podere la Corte, Poggio Salvi, Staffoli, Turamino, Viteccio, Chiesa di Barontoli, podere Agresto, Linari | 4 km | 1h 30'

Itinerary 12 | Castello di San Rocco, Brucciano, podere Il Moro, rientro nella strada del Luco, San Domenico, San Felice, San Francesco, fosso Serpenna per 1 Km. fino a Casalta, Villa Cavaglioni, Castello di San Rocco | 12,7 km | 3h

Itinerary 13 | Orgia, Itinerari del Museo del Bosco: La passeggiata del Conte, Il fiume, il Romitorio, le carbonaie | 1,5 km | 40'


Tuscany | La montagnola senese


 

 

         
   
         
    The Val d'Elsa    
         
         
    San Gimignano

   
    The municipality and the entire province of Siena offer an infinite variety of trekking and cycling itineraries. Paths and tracks which, in the case of the San Gimignano area, wind through valleys and hills, woodland and open country. On foot from San Gimignano you can reach Castelvecchio, the village of Lariano and the Romanesque parish church of Cèllole, the sanctuary of the Madonna di Pancole. There are many routes, on foot or by bicycle.
Attempting a walk out of San Gimignano can be daunting, but the nearby countryside holds enough sites of interest to make it worth your while. Most trails depart from San Donato (downhill from the San Giovanni Gate) with routes taking you into the Castelvecchio Nature Reserve and the four kilometers to Pieve di Céllole, a pretty Romanesque parish church with a beautiful and quite surprising view back to San Gimignano.
         
         
         
         
 
     
                 
 
La Via Francigena | Da Ponte d'Arbia e Buonconvento a San Quirico d'Orcia

Comune di Montalcino

Abbey of Sant’Antimo website

Montalcino Trekking Urbano | www.assessoratoturismomontalcino.com

Restaurants in Montalcino and Sant'Angelo in Colle


 
   
View Crete Senesi in a larger map
 

 

 

 

 
     
 
 
 
 

ature reserves and beaches | The Tuscan and Etruscan coast

 

  Terre di Siena, August
 

Trekking in the Crete Senesi, stunning landscape between Siena and Asciano


 

 

     

 

   


[1] Italo Moretti, Duccio Balestracci, Maura Martellucci, The Paths of the Via Francigena in the Siena Region, Marta De Luca (Editor) Le Balze (2003) [ISBN-10: 8875390045 - ISBN-13: 978-8875390044]. Also avalaible in Italian as I percorsi della Via Francigena nelle terre di Siena, and in German as Wege und Umwege der Frankestraße in der Provinz Siena.
[2] From the Carolingian Age until the early age of the Italian citystates, Montalcino was placed under the jurisdiction of the Abbey of Sant'Antimo. Autonomous commune from the end of the 12th century, it struggled for the entire 13th century to defend its independence against the expansionistic aim of Siena. Only in the 14th century did it fall under Sienese rule; a tangible sign of this was the building of the great Fortress which is still standing today. In 1462 Montalcino was nominated episcopal seat by Pius II. But its history is mainly linked to the final period of the Sienese Republic against the backdrop of the war that brought about the surrender of Siena in 1555. Montalcino, whose destiny was by now tied to that of the capital, put up the Sienese exiles who organized their own government here. In 1559, with the treaty of Cateau Cambrésis between France and Spain, hopes of independence vanished, and with them the role of major importance that Montalcino had played for a few years as last bastion of the Republic. (ibid, p. 188)